D.A.C. was formed in 1949 by 15 founder members, the first of which was Mr Alec Jackson.
They met together for the first time as a Club on May 6th 1949 at the Derby Hippodrome and formed a Committee. They decided on the Club motto, which is;
“STOUT ARM, STRONG BOW, AND STEADY EYE, UNION, TRUE HEART AND COURTESY”
At the first Committee meeting, held on the 3rd June, Lord Scarsdale was invited to become Club President. At the first A.G.M. Lord Scarsdale presented a Trophy for the Club Championships, these championships to be held “Annually on the Great Lawn at Kedleston Hall”, he also confirmed that three Tournaments would be held at Kedleston each year.
So began the long association of Derbyshire Archery Club with Kedleston Hall. Incidentally Kedleston Archives show that Archery has been held on the Great Lawn for over 300 years.
Club Subscriptions were Gentlemen; 2 guineas, (£2 l0p) Ladies 1½ guineas (£1.57½) Juniors. 1 guinea (£1.05p).
On the 15th September 1960 Lady Scarsdale invited the Club to shoot permanently at Kedleston Hall. Tournaments to be shot on Sundays with practice sessions on Wednesday evenings. D.A.C decided Target Fees for each shoot to be 2 shillings practice (10p) and 3/6d (17½) for Trophy shoots these costs to be in addition to the Annual Subscription.
Due to the security at Kedleston Hall, and the eventual take-over by the National Trust, the Club decided to fund an additional ground for practice, thus leading to a rather nomadic life with a succession of five grounds, ending with our present location at Milford where Club Nights are held on Wednesday and Fridays with members having access seven days a week.
In 1963 the membership reached an all-time-low when only one Archer turned up for a Tournament at Kedleston Hall. The Committee decided on a “Recruitment Campaign”, advertising in the local newspaper inviting interested persons to a meeting at the Seven Stars Public House in Derby. The response was so good the Club was re-vitalised and has never looked back, starting with an average membership in the mid thirties, to the present level of over 70 members.
In the 60’s the Club had indoor facilities at a Mission Hall in Derby. Before commencing shooting, four 8ft x 4ft panels of 2″ thick stramit board had to be hooked onto a beam suspended from the ceiling to protect the “Altar and Choir stalls” from damage. Halfway through the evening, an elderly member of the congregation would appear with tea and biscuits for all members, this was included in our fee!!!
Unfortunately this Hall eventually closed down, so a new venue was found at Normanton Barracks, shooting down indoor cricket practice nets. As the rooms were unheated this proved to be very cold and thus unpopular with members after Christmas. This facility was abandoned after one year, thus ending D.A.C’s indoor shooting. Facilities are available for Club Members to shoot at Rolls Royce Bowman for a fee.
D.A.C. was a Target Club. To encourage Field Archery we used to organise Field Shoots during the winter months at St Philomenas Convent, Duffield Rd, and Heywood , at Kedleston. The Club also held an Annual Open Field Shoot at Weaver Hills, Nr Ashbourne, shooting a 28 Target Big Game round.
On two occasions, field archers unhappy at not being able to shoot during the summer months left the Club to form independent field clubs, namely Centurae Bowman and Duvelle Bowman. DAC now refers budding field archers to these Clubs.
In 1991 DAC found an outdoor home at Milford Sports field. This worked well for many years but following the owner unfortunately passing away in 2013 access to the field became difficult and in 2015, DAC moved briefly to a mid-term home at John Flamsteed Community School in Denby, and then later to Derby Rugby Club on Haslams Lane. Whilst we were shooting there the search for a new field resulted in one being found near Lower Hartshay and this is now the Club’s home.
Currently the Club is not able to have more than a few archers on the field at a time, but in normal years the club has a very active calendar, on top of the county league and local open shoots. We have club tournaments at Kedleston Hall on many Sundays during the summer with a “Have A Go” on bank holidays as well as practise ‘nights’ every Wednesday and Friday evening.
We run up to three “Open Shoots”, a National, a Windsor, and in 1998 the first “Open Long Bow” shoot, bringing Long Bow Archery on the Great Lawn full circle.